How did hanging Christmas stocking’s by the fireplace all start? Well, it all begins with Saint Nikolaus, also known as Nikolaus Von Myra and Nikolaus of Bari. Born March 15, 270 and died December 6, 343. St. Nikolaus had a reputation of secret gift giving, putting coins in shoes of the poor who left them out for him. He eventually became the model for Santa Claus.
As legend has it, a recently widowed man and the father of three girls was poverty-stricken and was worried that their impoverished status would make it impossible for the girls to marry.
St. Nikolaus was wandering through the town where the man lived and heard the villagers discussing that family’s situation. St. Nikolaus wanted to help but knew the man would refuse any kind of charity directly. Instead, one night, St. Nikolaus slid down the chimney of the family’s house and filled the girl’s recently laundered stockings, which happened to be drying by the fire, with gold coins.
The girls awoke in the morning, overjoyed upon discovering the bounty. Because St. Nicholaus’ generosity, the daughters were now eligible to wed and their father could rest easy that they wouldn’t fall into lonely despair.
Although this story seems far-fetched, this tale of unknown origin and date is widely referenced when it comes to the history of the Christmas stocking.
There is a holiday commemorating St. Nikolaus on December 6th, Saint Nicholas Day.
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